The resources sector is passé for millennials — and not just because it’s perceived as ‘immoral’ in the era of climate change.

A report by Engineers Australia points to a decline in Australian students enrolling in engineering courses since 2007, a detail that’s concerning the oil and gas industry.

International student numbers in engineering undergrad and postgrad courses however have both risen significantly since 2001.

“Our young engineers are the future of the subsea industry, and it’s critical to our businesses to attract them, our responsibility to nurture them, and our duty to excite them with the possibilities of this extraordinary industry,” said Subsea Energy Australia chair Marius Martens.

Skills shortages are appearing across the resources sector, with non-exploration geologists and engineers on the government’s labour shortage list, and Mr Martens is concerned about a possible lack of new entrants into the offshore oil and gas sector.

But the problem may be more complex than one of exciting the next generation about the “possibilities” of a career in oil and gas.

An EY survey from 2017 found 6 per cent of 16-19 year olds found this industry very appealing, and 18 per cent of 20-35 year olds did.

Many respondents said it simply didn’t interest them – about 40 per cent. Almost a quarter cited environmental reasons, but 66 per cent said renewable energy was appealing as a career choice.

One oil executive who worked in the Middle East told Stockhead if he had the choice now, he wouldn’t go into his industry if he graduated today because he saw more opportunity in renewable energy.

The other problem the resources sector faces is more difficult to resolve.

The sector laid off hundreds of employees after the oil price crash in 2014 and mining’s last decline around 2013.

Anecdotal evidence from engineers and geologists who graduated at the time indicate a lost generation of people who were burned by redundancies and a failure to find work in the sector.